Bob W, the self-described “tech-driven” hospitality supplier that gives a substitute for conventional motels and short-stay leases, is disclosing €10 million in seed funding.
Main the spherical, which included a primary tranche of €4 million final 12 months, is byFounders VC and personal fairness agency Finnish Trade Funding (Tesi). Different European actual property and enterprise capitalist buyers collaborating embody Kaamos, Superangel, United Angels and NREP (through its anchor funding into the 2150 enterprise capital fund, which promises to back sustainable city applied sciences).
Based in 2018 by Niko Karstikko and Sebastian Emberger, Bob W — which is a play on the phrase “better of each worlds” — is described as providing tech-powered short-stay flats that mix hotel-like high quality with the authenticity of particular person leases.
Its “full-stack” mannequin sees it supply and handle properties and supply an accompanying app for company, with assist for chat-based customer support and contactless on-line check-in. It additionally claims to have made the vast majority of its operations autonomous. “[This] not solely minimises human error but additionally permits the corporate to craft all the visitor expertise, from reserving to check-out, at scale,” says the corporate.
Launched in quite a lot of Nordics markets, and on the verge of opening properties in London, the startup appears to be weathering the pandemic, reaching occupancy charges as excessive as 90% at its present properties in Estonia and Finland. Income can also be stated to have grown by 80% in 2020, with the corporate placing loads of advertising and marketing towards claims behind being extra hygienic than many motels.
“A brand new era of travellers have developed a refined style in the case of lodging; they’re mixing enterprise with pleasure and infrequently staying for longer,” says Niko Karstikko co-founder and CEO of Bob W. “They need the dependable high quality of a resort and the authenticity and comfort of a personal condominium. The issue is that many motels really feel generic and lack key facilities like kitchens, whereas reserving a personal rental looks like taking part in roulette”.
Regardless of this contradiction, Karstikko says the short-stay rental market has continued to develop over the previous decade with thousands and thousands of properties obtainable, “demonstrating the demand for home-like settings the place company can dwell like an area”. And it’s this demand that was the inspiration behind Bob W.
“Bob W ensures the perfect short-stay condominium expertise, which incorporates the facilities and native authenticity of a house mixed with responsive host communication obtainable 24/7, the perfect skilled cleansing program within the trade, curated native service companions (health club, breakfast, and so on.), devoted enterprise providers and extra”.
Because of this company can depend on “hotel-like consistency” throughout all of Bob W’s places, with out paying resort costs and with “the flexibleness to remain days, weeks or months”.
Karstikko says a typical Bob W visitor is somebody who “travels much less however stays longer”.
“They usually combine enterprise and pleasure and are available for leisure, work, digital nomad-ery or simply to get away and get a style of residing like an area,” he explains. “To try this, they search out genuine locations to remain which even have the facilities and constant high quality they anticipate, like a totally outfitted kitchen and a few elbow room. What they need is a house away from house”.
In the meantime, direct opponents embody the likes of Sonder, Cosi Group, Lime House and, extra broadly, the resort and short-stay segments. To that finish, Karstikko argues that Bob W is the “most native, genuine expertise” in the marketplace and provides probably the most constant, but custom-made expertise. It additionally pitches itself on being extra sustainable.
“We’ve put sustainability on the core of every part we do,” provides the Bob W CEO, “from powering our flats with 100% renewable power to recycling, minimising single-use plastic, sourcing furnishings responsibly and [other] inexperienced initiatives all through the enterprise. We can even have huge information quickly about how we’re taking sustainability to the subsequent degree, as all of us must do extra to fight the local weather disaster”.